Thursday, April 17, 2008

live frugally on surprise

The title is from Alice Walker. I’ve never read anything of hers, but I like that phrase. The whole poem is Expect Nothing.

Yesterday I got Kieron’s help to move the dining room table so I could straighten the big carpet underneath.

Then of course I had to vacuum it, REALLY vacuum it, even underneath, not just around the corners of the table and under the edges like I usually do.

Then I went upstairs because Kieron or Aidan wanted me to see something. Sean and Paddy had gone down to town with Kevin — Sean for his weekly strength and conditioning workout with his uncle, and Paddy to play with his little cousin whose mom was running on the track.

After a while, still upstairs, I heard a cry of delight, “Oh, Maddelyn would LOVE this!” It was my daughter, and I had no clue what she was talking about except that Maddelyn is her young friend. When I went to look, Clare was dancing a sweeping waltz on the open carpet.

A few minutes later I glanced downstairs again. Brendan had come out of his room and was doing mock football drop-back-passes on the empty field of carpet.

Today all the boys played an extended game with their Bionicles on the carpet. Sean is making cardboard goals now. One of them (or perhaps their Dad) said, “You should leave it like that!” Of course, over time the surprise of it which was part of the delight will fade.

The unlimited potential of the open carpet (and Brendan still waking up in the morning).

We didn’t do a whole lot of formal academics this morning, though Sean by habit made it through all his work. Kieron played, and Clare talked to me for a long time, subjects including: college and adult life plans, planned book-writing project, role of women and how it relates to further education (she visits a Catholic board where the arguments range all across the board, which gives us all kinds of discussion material on all sorts of subjects), Pope Benedict’s possible reaction to Haugen and Haas music at Mass in the US this morning. I think it was a bit of kairos. JoVE mentioned three concepts of time — historical time, generational time, and developmental time — in her comment to my post yesterday. I will have to go back and read the article she mentioned, but I have noticed before that conversations are so often links to past and future, to tradition and to potential, in a way nothing else is, except perhaps things like books and movies and books and pictures. Oh well, perhaps lots of things then, but certainly conversations seem to have a unique quality — an ability to travel instantaneously and to transmit messages and to strengthen vision. A bit like angels, perhaps.

An angel can illuminate the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision. — St. Thomas Aquinas

Kieron has taken the little ones on a walk. I don’t know what you will think if I say I am paying him good money to do this. The thing is — he wants to earn money to buy a Sonic video game, and the most valuable thing I can think of for him to do is to take the little ones outside. I like them being outside and I like him being outside taking care of them. And I like getting a bit of time by myself while knowing they are doing something good. I guess it is what is called a Mother’s Helper job.

Brendan put up his windchimes yesterday that he got for Christmas. The process had almost a ceremonial air to it, like a rite of the new season. The little boys were thrilled and spent the next hour running around with miniature wind chimes we had around the house. I tried to get pictures but they were too busy and lively to slow down for natural light exposure photos.

Two pictures of Brendan in one post! That is a rarity.

I have been spending about an hour a day cleaning up and organizing the house. And I’ve lost six pounds. I always gain 20 during the winter and I have decided that I’m okay with the range. Other years I put the weight loss on “project status” and kept charts and food journals and the like. That does work, but this year I’m experimenting with something in a book that went “the process is the goal”. So rather than worrying about arriving at a certain target, I’m just focusing on doing things in a healthy good way. I think both ways can work, but I’m hoping that “the process is the project” will be more in line with what I’m trying to do with the unschooling thought process right now.

True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness. Albert Einstein

I doubt if many actually live in that sense, though. Certainly I’m not there yet.